Adding Chemical X to an explainer – HR Cube

“Sugar, spice and everything nice – these were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect little girls.But Professor Utonium accidentally added an extra ingredient to the concoction —

Chemical X. Thus, The Powerpuff Girls were born.”

Ah! What an awesome title sequence! The Powerpuff Girls were my heroes, cute and tough at the same time.

I wish every project of ours was this awesome.

You know what? One did come very close – HR Cube.

 

Our experience with this hiring portal based out of USA, was similar to the title song of The Powerpuff Girls. Suddan and Pritha from HR Cube managed a satellite base, here at Coimbatore.

At the onset, they asked for a marketing video that would target 3 heterogeneous groups of people (do you know how strenuous it is to capture ONE type of audience? Now multiply that by 3) They requested us to use only the 3 colors from their logo. Aaand finally, our deadline was just 3 weeks away.

A challenge from the start. We loved it!

These were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect little video:

  • 3 target audiences,
  • 3 colors,
  • 3 weeks

(Sugar, spice and EVERYTHING ELSE that was nice came later!)

Sugar, spice and everything nice

 

What…? Oh, you’re wondering what Chemical X was?

Patience. I’m getting to it.

We had the brief from the client and we had the vigor for a new project. Now we needed a style. Udhaya, took up the role of the Creative Director. Prof.U’s (yeah, Udhaya became our ‘Professor’) instincts pointed to Motion graphics. He wanted to create something utterly new.

 

Professor U had a formula – “Elegant and Smart. Yet, minimalist.”

Confused much? I assure you, that’s how we felt too.

A little unsure but a lot daring. Eeeks!

 

Scary, I know. But we consoled ourselves that scientists also felt the same way most of the time. It was like the perfect opportunity for us to don white coats and turn into researchers.

Shareef was incredibly supportive for this ‘trial run’. He had to manage our resources, making sure that everyone was on the same page. That goes for the client too. I mean, how else could we convince HR Cube to trust us with something this vague? Shareef made it easier for us to concentrate on our production, while he handled any questions HR Cube posted.

By this point, we had it in our heads that we were scientists. So, it was upto Shareef to change the MPV studio into the perfect lab.

The Laboratory:

Initially, it was all abstract. But Vimida, picked up fast. She even took it further and scripted an emotive story.

Motion graphics are a way to talk about the bigger things in life; social, corporate and economic issues. In this case, it was about what Enterprises thrive on – their people.

It’s no surprise that Enterprises are built from their employees. Vimida wanted this to be the core of the script.

So, she chose to narrate the story of two people – Mark and Eddy – enveloped in the story of Enterprises.

Writing scripts for a motion graphics video, was already a Herculean task. Now imagine writing one with a storyline – it was Super Tough. She handled it brilliantly.

Even though this was only a branding video on the surface,(and branding videos are generally boringggg bullet points), she took up the dare to use the underlying story of enterprises.The script didn’t stop with Mark and Eddy; it went further and tied their stories with that of Enterprises, making it a grand Story of Success in the end.

We knew that this slightly intense project needed more than your regular animation treatment. So likeProf.U ( the real Prof.U this time ) we began experimenting, tweaking our traditional ‘animation process’ in the affair.

Udhaya…sorry Professor U…decided that character design would come later. First, he wanted to set the tone and style of the video.

So, he designed the first few seconds of the video. Only after seeing that shot our confidence level rose. The cloudy abstractness became clearer now.

 

Collaboration – An Artist, a Designer and an Animator :

It was an odd combination.

What were you expecting? Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup?! 😛

Nanda, our artist, was bubbling with excitement (bubbling…Bubbles…teehee 😉 ) He was soooo into the idea of a story-based motion graphics that he volunteered himself in.

Now, Nanda usually is a high-spirited and vibrant artist. This time, he was even more so! Everyday, he would pitch in his ideas for each style frame of the video, and everyday the trio moved a little closer to a rough storyboard.

Let me tell you a little something about Motion graphics – it is like a cheetah-set-on-fire-and-running-at-supersonic-speeds.

Blink. And you miss it.

You would see lots of movements and transitions and things whizzing past you. So, Nanda had to create characters (human characters!!)  that could keep up with the pace of these movements.

Man, he NAILED IT !!

HR Cube character design

He came up with characters that were made from only strokes and negative spaces. That was some Ah-maze-ing stuff, Nanda *applause, applause*. You took character design to another level.

Ahh..delightful Bubbles! So who comes after Bubbles? Buttercup, right?

Well, our Designer, Antony showed us how much of a Badass he was when he gave the characters some sass.

Yup, he LITERALLY defined the skeletal characters, adding a stethoscope here, and a toque there and……

Voila!

HR Cube metaphor

 

You’d begin to see a doc, a chef , an engineer…

It was simply superb!

Antony was also the one who came up with the idea of using a metaphor for the candidate selection process, which is the crux of HR cube’s brand. How did you come up with such an abstract concept, dude?

 

Using arrows to represent candidates!! Now there’s something we have never heard or seen before!

 

Arrows representing candidates

So while the characters were blowing our minds, there came the next powerpuff superhero.

 

As were the characters, so was the animation:

 

Blossom. The sensible, ‘self-proclaimed’ commander and leader… Sara extended this “Strokes Theme”  to the animation. If you think about it, it does make a lot of sense to adopt the style of characters for animation. Logically, aesthetically and obviously – as were the characters, so was the animation.

Sara did a couple of whishy-whooshy animagic for the motion graphics – so that all the elements felt like they were whishing-in and whooshing-out from the viewer’s point of view.

Here, let me give you an example – in one scene, the stroke for ‘TRUST’ comes from outside the frame – this was to subliminally show that the viewer is extending his own trust. Whoaah, that was some deep thought, Blosssss…err..Sara. Kudos!

Trust gif

I feel that the music deserves special mention. The energetic and peppy music added life to every second of the video. Arielle, the Voice over artist, gave a pleasant and sophisticated narration that blended in perfectly with the tone of the video.

I could keep talking about the little animation technicalities that made this video interesting – the teeny-tiny sparks, the action-packed centre of the frame, the subtly gradient background, the fixed camera, the motion-centric storytelling et cetera, et cetera but I won’t elaborate. I’ll let you experience it.

Note: You will have to be ultra-observant if you want to grasp them.

 

Positive results:

 

Not every experiment ends in positive results. We were a lucky bunch. *happy dance*

This project really proved worthwhile of all the man-hours and brain juices we put it.

The support and enthusiasm from our clients during the production was immense. Actually, we had our doubts when we gave Suddan and Pritha a short demo. But their positive feedback encouraged us till the end.

Scientists (that’s us!)  are usually not spokespersons. Our Project manager, Shareef, was again, the man of the hour. He conveyed our thoughts and ideas to HR Cube, who graciously accepted the changes, and gave us enough freedom to explore this path.

Also, Shareef’s best dreams came true – HR Cube agreed to extend the deadline (sleep easy, Shareef). The little extra time worked to our advantage.

Naturally, we are elated about our project with HR Cube as it was one of our creative best in recent times.

Thankfully (read, shockingly!!) we didn’t burn any hands or scorch any hair during the process. So yeah, we will always remember this project as that which pushed our limits.

text poster

Fun fact: Looks like Powerpuff Girls is making a re-entry – to make our lives awesome again!

Check it out.  

My gut feeling told me that CN would bring them back 😉 😉

 

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The making of an intergalactic explainer video – Almamapper

Heeblue wavegy!

I just said ‘Heya People!’ in alien. Bet you didn’t know that.

I couldn’t speak alienese either until Xeno came by to our studio. Yep, I’m talking about this swole triangular alien-guy-person.

Almamapper's Xeno

Pankaj and Chandra are earth-borns who were looking to skyrocket their website/app Almamapper. The duo contacted Vibin and what do you know, they instantly connected.

 

Being Bro’s from Pune and all.

 

Shareef co-ordinated a call with the friendly folks, and we got to know that they were scouring outer space for video makers who can give them an offbeat video.

 

Heyyyy that’s us!!

 

We’re wacky,

we’re itching to add weird-ity to our work

AND we’re great video-makers (their words, not ours).

 

Udhaya, Vimida, Vibin and I sat down for brainstorming. We didn’t have to think for long, because Vimida pitched an idea – an alien who wants to study on earth – and it stuck.

While writing the script, I was fully engrossed in telling the story of Xeno, the quirky, tech-savvy alien. Vimida suggested that I use a repetitive (anaphoric) rhythm with the words ‘Enter…’. And as you can see, that created a nice tippy-tappy pattern in the script. After a while, even you’ll start guessing where the narrative will say the next “Enter…”

Yep, that was rad.

Doing the visuals was great fun. We were given COMPLETE creative freedom from Pankaj (I’m still stumped. Full freedom? Does it taste better than Dum Biryani?!) We imagined intergalactical worlds and how everything would be shaped differently, even the characters!

 

Ganesan and Mahesh took it up from there and came up with the entire storybo….

OMG – brain flash – I think this is the first time we got THIS excited about shapes after kindergarten!!

…with the entire storyboard in a couple of hours.

 

Ganesan withdrew into his artist’s corner – an unofficial corner at the office where he goes to get inspiration ( btw it only works for him. I checked) – and brought out the four main characters – fully formed and ready-to-rock.

Almamapper character

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Xeno, Prof.Bree, Peter and Inya were born out of the sweet marriage of geometry and art.

His illustrations also brought crazy-amounts of details to the frame with only the basic shapes and minimalist characters.

 

Exhibit A:

Almamapper style fram

 

 

Mahesh and Dinesh drowned the video in a full 2D render, although parts of it were composed of 3D elements. Dinesh spent hours pouring over “particles simulation” in After Effects for the first few seconds of the video – woaaahhh…the galaxy scene blows you away right from the start, doesn’t it?

When Mahesh was handed Almamapper and a tight deadline, of course he came up with stunning animations that left us in awe. Pankaj loved the style frames and the demo we sent him and told us he was excited for the full video. Let me tell you, it’s not easy animating sooo… many characters ( nearly 4 full-length characters and several other bust-length characters ) especially when Mahesh was hard-pressed for time. Besides, the quality of the video could get affected if we hastened production.

We were petrified; like seriously, nail-biting, hair-pulling kinda scared about the deadline. That’s when Shareef jumped in and spoke to Pankaj, explaining our need for extra time. His assertiveness convinced Pankaj and Chandra and they extend our timeline.

Bahhhh….now you know our secret weapon 😛

Prasad killed it in the music segment. His use of sci-fi sounds in the scene where Xeno is comparing colleges is bang on! Chelsea was our first and only choice this time, because duh, voice acting is the main spaceship that carries this narrative. And she did a splendid job.

Now for the solo rant:

It has been a while since we added to our list of zany productions ( FunMango, Wizzki, Vizdesk ). Almamapper proved a worthy challenge, because we had only 10 days – 10 FRIGGING DAYS – to do a full on CREATIVE project.

I mean no disrespect, but Creativity is a Bi..ahhh…BIG RESPONSIBILITY, yeah, ahem, that’s what I meant.

So trying to rope in Creativity in such a short time is next to impossible – but we pulled it off with style! Can I get an Amen? Thank you.

*drops mike hard on the floor*

Overall, Almamapper is the kind of video that you have to watch twice – once for understanding the content and the second time to discover all the bonus easter eggs 😉 Needless to say, we are extremely happy for the opportunity to make an avant-garde branding video for Pankaj and Chandra.

P.S. And to answer your question, yes. Full freedom does taste better than Dum biryani – by a very small margin.

 

The Karo Mutterfly Recipe

Roughly 25 years ago, all ad-breaks on television were filled with reallllyyyyy catchy jingles.

Remember them?

Ahhh!  Wonderful nostalgia.

Our latest video for Mutterfly is going to bring you truck-loads of nostalgia – pukka – 100%.

Akshay came to us with a clear proposal. He was impressed with our Stayzilla musical and wanted a video that was just as ‘zippy and addicting’. Possibly with a 90’s touch-of-magic.

Sundar understood that the founder of Mutterfly was looking for a musical/commercial/branding video.

He duly handed it to production and this was our first thought:

“A jingle?!  Just like in the 90’s ?! JOLLY! JOLLY! JO….LLLLLLY! ”

Udhaya decided to go with a concept that connected to our nativity. We’d show the core message – an app that used food-sharing to bring neighbours closer – with a lovable character. This concept covered all kinda folks, from bachelors to home cooks.

Vimida listened to the good ol’ jingles for hours and then finally hit upon a suave granny character. You guessed it 😉 Nikki’s granny was the perfect mascot for Mutterfly. She was charming, kind to her neighbours and reflected the yester-generations.

Mutterfly grannie
Nikki’s granny

 

But a jingle is supposed to, well, jingle, na?

The scripter dropped some food references and small servings of hindi phrases here and there to make it more rhythmic. Vimida’s brain was buzzing along to a rough tune, while she wrote this down. And as she sang the track, you could almost hear Nikki’s granny giving her ‘the seal of approval’.

Prasad drew out the MOST pumped up, foot-tapping jingle, specially made for Nikki’s Granny. Akshay loved the sub-urban, folksy feel that this desi-number was spreading.

Then, it was time for storyboarding and animation.

For Ganesan, who loves sketching scenes from the country-side in his free time, this project was really exciting. He sketched Nikki’s granny and her younger self – a cute little girl with pigtails; I HAVE to talk about Ganesan’s ingenuity here: he actually created all the styleframes (even the period ones) in color, in advance. And then applied a filter on top to give it that ‘sepia’ look – “just in case the client requests them in color”. Props to him on his futuristic thinking.

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Sara, our animatron is a quiet interviewee. Ask him what part of the video was challenging and his reply is a calm smile. But after a lottttt of pestering questions, he finally hinted at struggling a little for the dance scene. (Rumour has it that he choreographed the moves himself and then taught them to his animatables. *insert impressive emoji*)

Thanks to Ganesan and Sara, this video turned out to be visually enticing in places like the logo entrance and the transition from our granny’s past to her present – WAH!

 

Nikki’s granny is soooo adorable – whether she’s young or old – whether she’s eating parathas or pizza – she’s got great gusto. And that just makes me wanna give her a BIGGGGGG hug 😀

Pretty soon, we began humming lines from this upbeat musical. I bet you won’t find a single Indian who can resist saying ‘Hai, hai’ and ‘karo Mutterfly…karo Mutterfly’.

As always Shareef was a constant support to us in every phase, be it getting the music from Prasad or shuttling ideas with Akshay, he kept up the spirit during production. Going in, we had great expectations for this project, given its zany composition and the funky animatables. And all that work truly paid off when we heard the good news.

Sundar was ecstatic when he shared the stats of this video; our video had grabbed 707 views in the first week that it was uploaded on our YouTube channel –  that is more than 10% of our subscribers – yayyyyy! It even scored a tremendous 6.7K views on Mutterfly’s facebook page.

I’m telling you, dancing grannies are all the rage in 2016! 😉

With Mutterfly we kickstarted 2016 in a HYPER-JOLLY mode.

Mutterfly is truly one of those tracks you really can’t stop mid-way. You HAVE to finish it.

And a 5, and a 6, and a 5, 6, 7, 8….

“When Nikki’s granny was very very young…neighbourhood was verrrrry fun….mmmm….”

Dharmalife – Not the ‘usual’ Explainer video

If you had an app that could literally change lives, what would you do? Well Sasidhar, our client, had a clear idea of what HE would do.

Sasidhar approached Mypromovideos with an unusual request – make an explainer video that does not explain the product. Yes, that does NOT explain the product. His app, Dharmalife, was set to change lives of those under the influence of the most dangerous of villains – our emotions.

So we started off with the problem that even the best of us face – Emotions out of control. How many of you have gone ‘Arrrggghhhhhh’ with smoke coming outta your ears when you have slow internet ? Me…me ….me!!

Guilty!!

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The making of Micrograam – Explainer Video

“Life is a circle”, begins the video. You witness the seed sprouting into a young sapling and growing into a big strong tree. With this ebb & flow of nature, the story of Maya unfolds. It is a story of the determinate Maya, who wants to educate her 3 children, with her meager income from selling nuts.

This story speaks to all you Humanitarians out there.

Would you like to know how this video took shape ? Read on…

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